Review: The Invincible Iron Man #500

Published on January 26th, 2011

The Invincible Ironman #500 whew…where to start. Fraction has put Tony Stark through the ringer since he first started this book and he shows absolutely no signs of slowing down. We have seen Tony go from the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. all the way to a life less brainless shell of a man in this run. In issue 500 there is no signs of slowing down as Fraction along with longtime collaborating artist Salvador Larroca take us to the distant future where we actually see the death of Tony Stark and the life of his children! Does this book do the series justice or is it just going through the paces of a BIG 500 issue? Read on to find out!

im500When the comic opens we see Peter Parker on a train enjoying his commute, enjoying being just a guy on a train. Until that is Tony Stark steps in to ruin Pete’s day! The two have a discussion about a project that they both worked on before Tony lost all his memories and now Tony can’t for the life of him put it back together! Peter is not fully convinced until that is Tony tells him that some of the plan for this weapon has made it’s way on line and to several other places it shouldn’t be. This throws Peter’s Spider Alarm in to high gear and he decides that he will do what ever it takes to help Tony find the missing pieces of the puzzle.

While on the trail of the weapon they come across a group calling them selves The Bastard Sons of Wilbur Day, Day as you will recall was the secret identity of the lamest Marvel villain ever Stiltman….yeah I will stand by that.The Sons of Wilbur Day are against meta humans and have taken Tonys plans and built some high tech weapons and some thing that resembles  a Metal Gear from the video game Metal Gear Solid.Ok so  while all this is going on there is another story that takes place on this same time line but far into the future.A foreseeable future for Tony if things continue the way they are. In this future Tony is a slave to The Mandarin and his children are kinda freedom fighters against this oppressive army put forth by The Mandarin.The youngest Stark ,Ginny, is the most interesting to watch as she gives clues to us the reader  about who Tony might have had kids with. This however seems to be left up to interpretation to me as she is either Madam Masks daughter or Pepper or Natasha.Only Fraction knows for sure. This future is a wasteland ruled by Mandarin with a barely alive Tony Stark unknowingly sucking the energy from the Earth as Mandarins personal slave.

Ok now back to the present in which Peter  errrrrr Spiderman and Ironman are now fighting these rebels together and take down the massive machine.They then decide that there is no way to stop these schematics from getting out there but they can still put in a back door that allows them to take these things down if need be.Great plan but one that ultimately does not get used until Ginny Stark along with the last dying breath of Tony use against the Mandarin to save the day .

The story by Matt Fraction was incredibly interesting however I have to be honest and say I was expecting something more…some sort of pay off now and then another hidden pay off later.Who knows maybe it will happen. I did enjoy this issue  regardless to what expectations I put upon it. I also really enjoyed some of the art work…and by some I mean Larroca who even when he is not at his best is great to look at and then the parts with Tony and Mandarin in the future. I know from hearing several interviews with Matt Fraction that he planted a lot of seeds for the future in this issue as well as did something uniquely interesting by giving the reader a heads up before the characters ever get it…which is a lot of fun. I just feel it was a little to drastic of a future as there is no way Marvel will go that route. So in a way it is a bit like a What If? scenario and less like a possible future for the 616.

FINAL VERDICT:It goes without saying but if your an Ironman fan or a Fraction fan this is a fun read. Hell if you have never read an Ironman book but want to start this is a great jumping on point as you will be just as uninformed as every one reading along. If your neither of those things then continue playing Magic The Gathering and miss out on some truly fun story telling!

Sheldon Lee

Sheldon@comicimpact.com